Partito Comunista Italiano

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Partito Comunista Italiano
Party logo
Party executive Amadeo Bordiga (1921–1923) ,
Palmiro Togliatti (1923–1924 / 1930–1934 / 1938–1964) ,
Angelo Tasca (1923–1924) ,
Antonio Gramsci (1924–1926) ,
Camilla Ravera (1927–1930) ,
Ruggero Grieco (1934–1938) ,
Luigi Longo (1964–1972) ,
Enrico Berlinguer (1972–1984) ,
Alessandro Natta (1984–1988) ,
Achille Occhetto (1988–1991) (party secretary)
founding January 21, 1921 (as Partito comunista d'Italia )
resolution February 3, 1991 (incorporated in: Partito Democratico della Sinistra and Partito della Rifondazione Comunista )
ideology Communism , Eurocommunism
Headquarters ItalyItaly Rome ,
Via delle Botteghe Oscure 4
Party newspaper L'Unità

The Communist Party of Italy ( KPI , Italian Partito Comunista d'Italia (PCd'I) ; since 1943 Italian Communist Party , Italian Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) ), founded in 1921 as a split from the Socialist Party of Italy (PSI), was the most influential communist party in italy .

Towards the end of World War II , it developed from a revolutionary cadre party to a mass movement. As such, she was instrumental in the armed resistance against Italian fascism and the German occupation of northern Italy ( Resistancea ) as well as in the drafting of the republican constitution of Italy. During the Cold War , the party remained permanently in opposition from 1947 until it was renamed in 1991, but as the opposition party with the highest mandate and as the ruling party in some regions and municipalities played a key role in the politics of pluralist - democratic Italy. In the 1970s ( Anni di piombo ), a time of political and social crisis, the KPI was again indirectly involved in the Italian government for several years in a coalition with the Democrazia Cristiana (DC) (see historical compromise ).

In the European context, with around 1.6 to 1.8 million party members and an average share of the vote of around 27%, the KPI was the communist party with the largest number of members and voters in Western Europe after the end of World War II. In the 1970s, before the French Communist Party and the Spanish Communist Party , she was considered the most important representative of Eurocommunism .

On February 3, 1991, after its last party congress in Rimini, as a result of the decline of the real socialist systems in Eastern Europe , the KPI officially abandoned its focus on communism , which was discredited by the historical events of the time , and renamed itself Partito Democratico della Sinistra (abbreviated PDS, German "Democratic Left Party"). A part of the former left wing of the KPI formed the smaller party Partito della Rifondazione Comunista ("Party of the Communist New Founding").

History of the KPI

Founding and resistance to fascism (1921–1945)

Antonio Gramsci , most influential theoretician of the PCI. Imprisoned as an anti-fascist in Italy in 1926, died in 1937 as a result of imprisonment.

The KPI was founded in 1921 as a split from the Italian Socialist Party on the initiative of Amadeo Bordiga , Antonio Gramsci , Palmiro Togliatti and others. Bordiga, leader of the communist left, was its first chairman until his arrest by the fascists in 1923. On orders from Moscow, the leadership of the KPI was replaced by Antonio Gramsci and Palmiro Togliatti.

After Fascism came to power in Italy under Benito Mussolini in 1922, the KPI was banned in 1926. Its then chairman and best-known theorist Antonio Gramsci was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1928 . After eleven years in prison, Gramsci was released early in 1937 because of serious health problems from prison, where he had continued his theoretical work. However, he died a few days later. Gramsci's writings, including the " Lettere dal Carcere " (prison letters ) and the " Quaderni dal carcere " ( prison notebooks ) had a lasting influence on the New Left in Western Europe in the second half of the 20th century. They also anticipated some ideas of later Eurocommunism .

Similar to the German KPD , the KPI initially considered fascism to be a temporary phenomenon and followed the social fascism thesis prescribed by Moscow, the Communist International and the CPSU under Stalin until the mid-1930s , according to which the main opponent of communism was in the bourgeois and social democratic camp . After turning away from the social fascism thesis, an anti-fascist action unit was formed between communists, socialists and social democrats from 1934/1935, which was led by KPI boss Palmiro Togliatti from his exile in Moscow.

Within this unit of action, the illegal KPI from the underground shaped the resistance against the dictatorship of Mussolini and in a leading position influenced the partisan war against the German troops allied with Mussolini (see Resistancea ) during the Second World War .

Amadeo Bordiga , who sharply criticized Stalin at a meeting of the Comintern's 6th Extended Executive Committee (ECCI) in Moscow in 1926 , was expelled from the KPI in 1930; officially because he had contradicted the repression against Leon Trotsky in the USSR. After periods of forced inactivity during fascism (exile and later house arrest) he later participated in the group of the communist left founded in 1943 as the " Internationalist Communist Party ", which from 1961 called itself the " International Communist Party ". He remained active there until his death in 1970. His extensive theoretical work has so far remained largely unknown in Germany.

Member of the transitional government and consolidation as a mass opposition party (1945–1964)

Palmiro Togliatti (on a Soviet postage stamp, 1964), most senior PCI functionary in the Comintern in Moscow. After 1945 he was a major promoter of the restructuring of the PCI from a cadre to a mass party .

After the end of World War II, the KPI, as a broadly organized mass party, quickly became an influential political force in Italy. With 1.8 million members it was the largest communist party in Western Europe. The strong influx of members was essentially based on the leading commitment of numerous communist partisan organizations in the fight against the National Socialist occupation of northern Italy from 1943 to 1945 . As a significant member of the National Liberation Committee ( Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale ), the KPI, formerly a revolutionary anti-system party, had acquired national prestige and was involved in the transitional government with its own ministers until 1947. a. drafted the republican constitution of Italy. With the beginning of the Cold War , the KPI left the government permanently in 1947 due to its ties to the Soviet Union (conventio ad excludendum).

From 1943 until his death in 1964, the former top functionary of the Communist International , Palmiro Togliatti, as general secretary of the KPI led the party to several electoral successes. In the first democratic post-war election, the KPI received 18.9% of the vote. In many cities, especially in some of Italy's larger industrial metropolises, the KPI was the governing mayor for many years.

Even under Togliatti's leadership, the party began to pursue its own path to socialism, although this was viewed very critically by “brother parties” in the Eastern bloc, such as the SED. For example, she criticized the crackdown on the Prague Spring by Soviet troops. Nevertheless, the party continued to receive financial aid from the Soviet Union; According to a study, the party received up to five million dollars a year until 1980. With Togliatti's model of independence ( polycentrism ), it set itself apart from the requirements of the CPSU from the Soviet Union . The KPI recognized the pluralistic democratic system and constitution of Italy.

Eurocommunism and "Historical Compromise" (1964–1979)

After Togliatti's death, Luigi Longo was elected General Secretary of the party in 1964 , which he held until 1972. Longo continued the line of his predecessor. Correspondingly, the KPI also condemned the crackdown on the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia in 1968 by troops from some Warsaw Pact states under Soviet leadership.

Enrico Berlinguer , General Secretary of the PCI 1972–1984, architect of the “ historic compromise ” and an important representative of Eurocommunism

Enrico Berlinguer , general secretary of the KPI from 1972 to 1984, solidified the party's course by officially declaring himself for Eurocommunism, which he described as the third way between social democracy and Soviet communism . This course was marked by the “ historical compromise ” of the KPI, which meant in particular that the KPI agreed to the integration of Italy into the West . This compromise resulted in the parliamentary elections of 1976, in which independent candidates such as Altiero Spinelli stood on the KPI list, the best election result in party history. With a share of the vote of 34.4%, the KPI was then indirectly involved in the following minority government, the Democrazia Cristiana.

However, the cooperation between KPI and DC since the "historic compromise" has also met with massive criticism from parts of the New Left and the party base, students and left-wing intellectuals. This criticism led to a wave of demonstrations in the 1970s, which at times escalated to militant riots and riots on the streets, intensified by an economic crisis and terrorist activities by the extreme right. The charged political climate reached its climax in 1978 with the kidnapping and murder of the Christian Democratic politician Aldo Moro by the left-wing terrorist organization Red Brigades . Moro had been the main initiator of the historic compromise on the DC side and was therefore also controversial in his own party and the political right.

While the KPI did not hold any government offices at the national level after 1947, important municipal leaders came from its ranks. From 1945 until its dissolution in 1991, it provided the mayors of Bologna without interruption , and also the mayors of Rome from 1976–1985 (including Giulio Carlo Argan ), 1975–1983 in Naples , 1946–1951 and 1975–1985 in Turin , 1948–1951 in Genoa , 1946–1951 and 1975–1983 in Florence , 1946–1951 in Venice . Thus, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, five of the ten largest cities in Italy were ruled by communists. In addition, after the introduction of the Italian regions in 1970, they appointed the presidents of Umbria (1970–1991), Emilia-Romagna (1970–1990), Tuscany (1983–1991), Liguria (1975–1980) and Latium (1976–77).

Slow decline (1979–1989)

After the assassination of Aldo Moro, the exact circumstances and background of which (in particular the controversial role and responsibilities of the secret services and the Christian Democratic leadership) could not be fully clarified up to the present day, terrorism on the left and right slowly subsided; however, the KPI and DC have recently moved apart, with the KPI falling back into its categorical opposition role and trying to renew itself as a system alternative, which it only succeeded to a very limited extent.

In 1979 the KPI condemned the invasion of the USSR in Afghanistan as well as the suppression of the independent union Solidarność in Poland from 1981 . In 1983 the KPI finally distanced itself from communism along the lines of the Soviet model and from 1986 represented the concept of a so-called “new internationalism ” in the European left.

In 1984, with the sudden death of its then general secretary Enrico Berlinguer , the KPI also lost its charismatic leadership personality, which Alessandro Natta (until 1988) and Achille Occhetto as the last secretary general of the KPI could no longer replace in quality. The 1984 European elections , which took place shortly after Berlinguer's death, were the only Italian-wide election in the history of the KPI in which they came out on top before the Christian Democrats (33.3% versus 33.0%).

Turning away from communism, renaming and split-offs (from 1989)

Achille Occhetto, last general secretary of the KPI (1988–91) and advocate of turning away from communism

Ever since the “Historic Compromise” of the 1970s and even more so in the course of the 1980s, a “social democratization” of the party had emerged. An article in La Repubblica discussed in 1985 whether the KPI should not be renamed. With Giorgio Napolitano , a leading party member discussed the name issue publicly for the first time in February 1989, proposing Partito del Lavoro ("Party of Labor"). The New York Times in May 1989 described the KPI as "Social Democratic in every way but name".

The decisive trigger for the final turn away from communism was the fall of the Berlin Wall . Three days after this, on November 12, 1989, the last KPI general secretary, Achille Occhetto, announced a fundamental change at a meeting of former partisans in Bolognina (a district of Bologna) and, in the course of this, a renaming of the party.

“(…) È necessario andare avanti con lo stesso coraggio che allora fu dimostrato nella resistancea. (...) È necessario non continuare su vecchie strade ma inventarne di nuove per unificare le forze di progresso. ”

“It is important to go forward with the same courage that was evident in the resistance. We must not stay on the well-trodden paths, but must look for new ways to unite the progressive forces. "

- Achille Occhetto : Bolognina speech, November 12, 1989

After this speech, the process of the KPI's turning away from communism and turning to social democracy is referred to as svolta della Bolognina ("Wende von Bolognina"). An extraordinary party congress (the XIXth) was called for March 7-11, 1990 in Bologna. 67% of the delegates voted in favor of Occhetto's proposal to re-establish the party under a new name and with a progressive, reformist program and to join the Socialist International (the global union of social democratic parties). 30% of the delegates voted in favor of the counter-motion submitted by Alessandro Natta and Pietro Ingrao , who opposed a change of name, symbols or tradition of the KPI. A third proposal, by Armando Cossutta , came up with 3%.

On her XX. and last party congress in Rimini, the party decided on February 3, 1991 with 807 votes to 75 with 49 abstentions to rename it to Partito Democratico della Sinistra ( PDS for short ; German: "Democratic Left Party"). The former General Secretary of the KPI Achille Occhetto became the first secretary of the PDS. The PDS logo showed an oak tree, but in the lower area the old KPI emblem with hammer and sickle remained in a smaller area in order to continue their tradition. The former communist party organ L'Unità became the official newspaper of the PDS. In September 1992 the PDS was accepted into the Socialist International , which was also approved by its two previous Italian member parties - PSI and PDSI . Two months later, the PDS took part in the founding of the Social Democratic Party of Europe (SPE). The European parliamentarians of the PDS then switched from the group of the European United Left to the Social Democratic group .

The opponents of turning away from communism, on the other hand, formed the Movimento per la Rifondazione Comunista (“Movement for the new founding of communists”) on February 3, 1991, from which the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) emerged a little later under the leadership of Sergio Garavini and Fausto Bertinotti . This was followed by around 10% of the members of the previous KPI. As a result of splitting off from the PRC, further, smaller communist parties emerged in the course of the 1990s: Movimento dei Comunisti Unitari (MCU, 1995) and Partito dei Comunisti Italiani (PdCI, 1998).

Massimo D'Alema , 1998–2000 first Prime Minister of Italy from the ranks of the former PCI

The PDS merged in 1998 with several smaller parties - including the Comunisti Unitari - and then traded under the name Democratici di Sinistra (DS, "Left Democrats"). On the occasion of this renaming, the hammer and sickle were also removed from the party logo and replaced by a red rose. From 1996 the PDS and DS were part of the center-left alliance L'Ulivo , which also included former Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Liberals and which provided government from 1996 to 2001. This government was from 1998-2000 Massimo D'Alema as Prime Minister. He was the first head of government in a Western European or NATO state that had previously belonged to a communist party. In 2006, Giorgio Napolitano , an ex-communist, became Italian president. In addition, Fausto Bertinotti from the PRC, who was still an avowed communist, was President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament from 2006 to 2008. The DS, in turn, was merged into the Partito Democratico (PD) in 2007 . It was only after the 2008 elections that the PRC and PdCI left the parliament and no party calling itself communist was represented.

Re-establishment (2016)

Based on the Partito dei Comunisti Italiani (PdCI), the constituent assembly for the reconstruction of the Communist Party of Italy (PCI) took place on May 27, 2016 in Rome , according to the unity of all left forces. After that, the historical name (PCI) and the original symbols (flags etc.) should be used again in full.

In the parliamentary elections in Italy in 2018 , the PCI ran as part of the communist alliance Potere al Popolo (PaP).

See also


(German speaking)

  • Eric J. Hobsbawm , Giorgio Napolitano : On the way to the 'historical compromise'. A conversation about the development and programming of the KPI , Suhrkamp , Frankfurt / Main 1978, ISBN 3-518-00851-X .
  • Helga Koppel: PCI The development of the Italian Communist Party into a mass party , VSA-Verlag , Hamburg 1976, ISBN 3-87975-089-0 .
  • Thomas Kroll : Communist Intellectuals in Western Europe. France, Austria, Italy and Great Britain in comparison (1945–1956) , Böhlau Verlag , Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2007, ISBN 3-412-10806-5 .
  • Francesco Di Palma: Conflict and Normalization. SED and PCI before the challenge of the Prague Spring (1968–1970) . In: Work - Movement - History , Volume II / 2017, pp. 128–144.
  • Bruno Schoch: The international politics of the Italian communists , Campus-Verlag , Frankfurt a. M. 1988, ISBN 3-593-33886-6 .
  • Giuseppe de Rosa: Socialism and Communism in Italy . In: Dieter Oberndörfer (Ed.): Socialist and Communist Parties in Western Europe. Publication of the social science research institute of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung . Volume 1: Südländer (= Uni-Taschenbücher , Volume 761). Leske + Budrich (UTB), Opladen 1978, ISBN 3-8100-0240-2 , pp. 133-194.

Web links

Commons : Communist Party of Italy  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Francesco Di Palma: Conflict and Normalization. SED and PCI before the challenge of the Prague Spring (1968–1970) . In: Work - Movement - History , Volume II / 2017, pp. 128–144.
  2. Stalin's disciples and the pogrom , in: NZZ, November 8, 2016
  3. Romolo Caccavalle, Lumini accessi in tutte le città contro il regime . In: L'Unità , November 2, 1982, p. 7.
  4. Nikolas Dörr: The Red Danger. Italian Eurocommunism as a Security Policy Challenge for the USA and West Germany 1969–1979. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2017, p. 63.
  5. Mino Fuccillo: 'Il nome non si tocca' . In: La Repubblica , August 31, 1985.
  6. 'Cambiare nome? Non e proibito ' . In: La Repubblica , February 14, 1989.
  7. ^ Alan Riding: Italy's Communists Try Not to Be Ideologues. In: The New York Times , May 7, 1989.
  8. ^ Translation quoted from Henning Klüver: Farewell to the communist past. The Italian Communist Party decided to rename it 20 years ago. Deutschlandfunk, broadcast calendar sheet , February 3, 2011.
  9. Bologna in 1990, il penultimo atto del Pci . In: Corriere della Sera , October 10, 2001.
  10. ^ Andrea di Nicola: La fine di un'epoca, un Parlamento senza comunisti né socialisti. In: La , April 14, 2008.